February 22, 2011
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 What's Your Take on the HIV Gene Therapy Study Looking for an Effective Cure?
In light of the bone marrow transplant that effectively cured the "Berlin patient," San Francisco researchers are recruiting HIV-positive volunteers for a study that uses a less invasive approach: gene therapy to modify patients' immune systems. Have you heard of this study? What are your thoughts?

Benjamin Young, M.D., Ph.D., responds in the "Choosing Your Meds" forum

 What Do You Know About Zinc Supplements?
I read that taking zinc has been proven to make the common cold last for a shorter time. Have you heard about this? What else does zinc do? Is zinc good for the immune systems of HIV-positive people?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum

 Recently Diagnosed and Doing Fine: Has My Diagnosis Just Not "Sunk In" Yet?
I got diagnosed with HIV three weeks ago; my husband is HIV negative. My initial shock lasted about five to 10 minutes. We both took a week off from work and studies; now we're back to our daily lives. I live in a country with very advanced medical care that's all free. My husband is very supportive. We've been reading and talking a lot about HIV. Do you think I'm so optimistic because my diagnosis hasn't really sunk in yet, and I might crumble later?

David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., responds in the "Mental Health and HIV" forum


 My Partner's HIV Positive but I Keep Testing Negative: Can We Keep Having Unprotected Sex?
My partner tested HIV positive; I've had three different tests and they've all been negative. How is this possible? Can we continue to have sex without protection?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds in the "Safe Sex and HIV Prevention" forum

Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the February 2011 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Jesus Crowned ... Black Madonna Glowing," 1999; Gregg Cassin

Visit the February 2011 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Why Religious Images Now?," is curated by José Vidal.


 If Sculptra Stops Working, What Are Some Other Options?
Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid, New-Fill) is a great product and it worked for me for years -- but now it's apparently stopped being effective for me. I'm afraid a very small percentage of people's bodies may become immune to it. Can you suggest some other permanent facial-filler options?

Gerald Pierone, M.D., responds in the "Facial Wasting" forum


 Low but Detectable Viral Load in First Trimester: When and With What Should I Start Treatment?
I've just completed my first trimester of pregnancy. My viral load was a little above 1,000 before my pregnancy, and my CD4 count was 820. Should I start treatment at this point? If so, which potential regimens do you suggest?

Keith Henry, M.D., responds in the "Managing Side Effects of HIV Treatment" forum

 Is It Safe to Reduce My Truvada Dosage?
I was diagnosed with HIV in August 2010 during acute infection and started taking Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) right away. My viral load at the time was 4.5 million copies; now it's undetectable. My CD4 count went from 187 to a current 700. I don't have any noticeable side effects yet, and my kidney function is good. However, I want to reduce my Truvada dosage to half a tablet daily or one full tablet every other day in order to minimize the risk of developing side effects in the long term. Does this make sense for me to do?

Keith Henry, M.D., responds in the "Managing Side Effects of HIV Treatment" forum

More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:


 How Do I Figure Out Why I'm Tired All the Time?
I'm 47 years old, I got an AIDS diagnosis in 1999, had a stroke in 2001 and developed epilepsy. Now, despite testosterone shots and B12 complex supplements, I'm fatigued and exhausted all the time and I can't work. I take antidepressants but they don't make any difference. What should I do?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds in the "Fatigue and Anemia" forum

 How Can I Relieve Yeast Infections Caused By My Antibiotics?
I'm a 43-year-old, uncircumcised man and I've been HIV positive since 1998. I've been in decent health, but every time my CD4 count goes down they put me on antibiotics for a few months and I end up with yeast infections. I know that the antibiotics are causing this condition but my doctor doesn't agree. What can I do?

Keith Henry, M.D., responds in the "Managing Side Effects of HIV Treatment" forum

More Questions About Other Health Issues & HIV/AIDS:


 Is There a Certain Amount of HIV That My Immune System Can Kill?
Can our immune systems handle or kill a certain amount of HIV? If so, how does that work?

Mark Holodniy, M.D., F.A.C.P., C.I.C., responds in the "Understanding Your Labs" forum

Connect With Others

Newly Diagnosed and Looking For Some Support.
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

I am a straight 42-year-old woman who was diagnosed with HIV on January 4, 2011. I suffered a terrible illness that started around the middle of September 2010. I was hospitalized for eight days and was sick for nearly two months. I had never been so sick in my life. I tested negative while I was in the hospital and thought I was OK. But I tested again when a man I had been with for six months told me a woman he had been with tested positive. That test came back positive. Gulp.

As of now, my CD4 count is 640, my viral load is 22,000 and my CD4 percentage is 35%. Not bad, I suppose, but I would still rather not have HIV. Last week, I joined a clinical trial at San Francisco General Hospital, the very same spot where so many people suffered from AIDS back in the '80s. Pretty ironic for an HIV newbie. Can anyone relate or offer some advice? -- toolatelola

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 Why Can't Mosquitoes Transmit HIV?
The way I see it, mosquitoes have a syringe-like mouth to suck up human blood, and it's hollow like a metal syringe. Judging by this similarity, why is HIV transmission not possible by mosquitoes the way it is by sharing syringes?

Joseph P. McGowan, M.D., F.A.C.P., responds in the "Choosing Your Meds" forum


 Will a Wash and Pee Keep Away HIV?
A married, topless woman I don't know recently flagged me into her hotel room, and we quickly had unprotected sex before her husband could catch us. I've never made such a stupid move, and now I'm worried about HIV. Right after I ejaculated I immediately pulled out to check for any cuts or nicks, and ran into the bathroom to wash my penis. I also urinated with force. Did I minimize my chances of becoming HIV positive by washing and peeing right after sex?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds in the "Safe Sex and HIV Prevention" forum

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